Wednesday, September 26, 2012

(Almost) Ready to go...

With just a few LMI's to pack in, then will close up suitcase, and our journey to Ireland will begin.  The past few days following the "market" Saturday were filled with hosting some friends from our Michigan past, errands, talking to the "concrete guy" about the new pool deck for the gray lagoon, and generally stifling panic about being ready.  Hence the lack of making you read stuff until now.

So ready or not, we'll go up to Dulles, see how British Airways treats us, visit Heathrow, and then on to Shannon.  At which point my other major fear will materialize when we are given an auto that has a steering wheel where the passenger should be.  "Good luck sir!"  Then navigate up to Galway and hopefully not injure anybody getting to our hotel.

When that chapter closes, the fun will begin.  Revolving around the Oyster Festival and World Championship Oyster Opening Contest, all oiled with plenty of Guiness.  Since the winning shucker from our St. Mary's Oyster Festival represents North America, and I am his, um, chaperone, I have been invited to be the official "North American Observer", which means I get to be back stage to make sure no funny business goes on with the trays and judging.   Bad news is that I don't get to see the actual shucking, er, I mean opening, but I did see that two years ago so seeing the judging and so forth will be interesting.  There are galas associated with the festival with a Mardi Gras theme (go figure) so MFO found us some festive masks to wear (which are now carefully packed by the master - her).  Will try to capture some images to put here.

The festival will conclude Sunday morning with a brunch.  We're staying until the next Thursday with some touring planned (as well as unplanned) to see the Aran Islands, and the country north of Galway.  We're doing day tripping so won't get too far afield.  Have picked out some restaurants so foodies will be served.  None of which is the famous McDonagh's which is highly over rated food wise (tested on the 2010 trip).

As usual, blogging will be governed by time (are you on that damn computer again??!!), and internet access and the normal vagaries of technology..  For those of you social media wizards, I might give FaceBook a shot here and there...

Somewhere in Galway, a pub or bar is loading a keg of Guinness, that contains my first, until next time..


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Buying Local..

Just a quick note from a little shopping trip this morning.  We’re expecting some house guests this weekend, and they are “healthy” eaters..  So we thought we would go over to the farmer’s market in the BAE parking lot near us and pick up some fresh stuff.  We haven’t been there in a while and we re-learned how nice it can be.  As it’s getting toward the end (?) of the growing season there weren’t as many farmers there as we've seen there during the summer.

I didn’t think to grab my camera, but now wish I would have.  There were lots of shiny yellow and green peppers, red tomatoes, purple eggplants, salad greens of various hues, and snow white onions, all glowing in the morning sun.  Nature’s bounty to be sure.  And then there’s the people.  We met some friends and chatted, talked with a couple of the farmers and it kind of develops a little sense of community.  Small town in a big town.

One of the stalls had a “buy local, buy fresh” banner so we stopped and talked to them.  They were from the Sassafras Creek Farm located near Park Hall (and expanding to Leonardtown), owned by a very nice energetic young couple.  He told us what he had to go through to become “certified organic”.  It’s not something where you just hang your shingle out.  You have to go through quite a process that involves many inspections, inventory restrictions, asking “mother may I?” for almost anything you put in the ground or on the food, and so forth.  They felt it was worth it because they believe very strongly in doing the right thing with their food.  We even got a nice solid head of garlic from them, not the dried out crap you see in the markets.  They also had fresh ginger which I haven’t seen before.  They supply produce to the Good Earth Natural Food Store in Leonardtown. We did note that we didn’t see ANY sweet corn however, thank you Mr. Drought.  Other stalls had breads, baked goods, scones, and stuff like that.

We were pleased to help support them and the other farmers that were there.  All were friendly and loved to talk about what they do.  There are people like that, thank goodness.  The market will be open through the end of October.  Don’t forget there is also one at the corner of 235 and Hermanville road.  Makes me want to re-visit them.  Go out and help keep our green spaces from becoming houses!  Buy Local!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Small victories and memories

Today I stole an hour from the travel demons and mounting angst over our upcoming trip.  I said what the “heck”, and went down to St. Mary’s College for the first of this year’s series of Piano Talks by Brian Ganz.  Me and about 19 other lucky folks were treated to a rewarding hour of beautiful music by Chopin, along with Brian’s instructive comments and illustrations.  Today’s selections were “The Mazurka’s Humor, and The Nocturns’s Heartbrake.  Brian talked about what makes “humor” in music, non sequiturs, unexpected resolutions, and so forth.  Of course he lost me rather quickly, but he used passages from the five mazurka’s he played to demonstrate.  He does have the habit of trying to involve the audience by asking questions..”which of the two pieces I just played illustrates humor by changing modality?”.  Some of the students hazarded a guess, but I kept quiet and tried to learn.  Oh, at one point he asked if anybody was familiar with the works of Leonard Cohen.   Given the age of most of the audience, I was not surprised that not many hands went up..  He said that Cohen used some of the same techniques as Chopin.  He gets around!

After the “humor” he played two nocturnes, (B major; Op 62, No. 1, and Lento con gran espressione).  Both were just beautiful.  There was just something nice about a few folks in a mostly empty auditorium with Brian filling the room with music.  One begins to see what real talent is, a question I have asked in the past.  These things are worth the trip, the next of which is October 4th (at noon).  Brian can sell out Strathmore in an hour, we are so lucky to have him for free and share his expertise.

What made this concert special and melancholy for me was that the seat next to me was empty.  I had a good friend that I attended most of these talks with, and he always sat in the last row, aisle seat on the right side facing the stage with me beside him.  I came to find out he knew a lot about the music, although he never spoke much about it.  He was also the same person I shared many a long lunch with at Courtney’s.  A really unique person, I felt lucky to know and share time with him.  At the end of any performance he would always shout “Bravo!” in a lusty voice.  At the end of today’s session there was no Bravo.  He passed unexpectedly last month.   I did sit in the seat next to his as I always did, and I’m sure although it was not verbalized so we could hear, it was there.  Rest easy, my friend.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

here we go again...

Well almost exactly a week from this day and time, MFO and I will be heading back across the pond to the Emerald Isle.   Yes, we returned from Scotland not long ago, but here we go again.  This trip is accorded to King Oyster to see/accompany the United States National Champion, winner of the St. Mary’s County Oyster Shucking Contest to Galway for the World Opening Championships.  Somehow I have been designated by the Galway folks as the “Observer” for North America so will get to see “behind the scenes” action.  Unfortunately it also means I can’t see the actual shucking.  Good thing I saw that two years ago..

Having recently enjoyed the rigors of international travel, in one sense we are not looking forward to repeating the experience so soon, but in another we will enjoy seeing Ireland and Galway again.  I wish that they would develop Star Trek’s transporter, it would be so nice to stand in your living room and say “beam me to Galway, Scotty” and Swish, you’re there.  We are flying British Airways this time, so hopefully it will be better than our traverse via USAir. 

And now “the trip” will begin to dominate my warped little mind, crowding out day to day thoughts, and listening to the demons in the night reciting the “what if’s”; and other visions of things going wrong.  Obsessing? No, I never would do anything like that…

Anyway a fall out might be that posting the usual penetrating and insightful blogs might suffer a bit as the exponential time line approaches next Wednesday. 

Just to end this section on a happy note, I will look forward to Guinness in its native surroundings.

Food related

Kind of.  Yesterday I got the new issue of Saveur, which features “101 Classic Recipes”.  Interesting reading.. it not only includes “classic” dishes we are more or less familiar with, such as Beef Stroganoff, Senate Bean Soup, Spaghetti Carbonara, Quiche Lorraine, but there are others such as Canh Chua Cá (Vietnamese sour fish soup), Djaj Mqualli (Moroccan chicken Tagine) and other exotics.  A good reference to have on hand..

And have had further confirmation that the newly revamped McKay’s on Hollywood/Leonardtown road will indeed be a Woodburn’s like establishment.  Sandwiches on site, etc.

Oh, and back to travel related stuff, my not-so-smart phone will not work in Ireland so I decided to get another loaner and upgrade when I return (and it WON’T be an iPhone!!).  so yesterday around one o’clock, I called the helpful people at Verizon Global, and for a measly five bucks added to the shipping cost, I had it in my hand by ten thirty today..  I don’t know how they do that.  Do THEY have a transporter?

And although I don’t usually get into the “quote” game, there were a couple I saw lately that caught my eye:

Serious:  The word LISTEN contains the same letters as the word SILENT”….Alfred Brendel

Humorous – caption of a New Yorker cartoon showing two gentlemen at the bar with beer bottles in hand:  The other thing I love about drinking is that you can’t do it online.”

Now, back to counting out how many socks I need – do I need extras?  Sweaters? Coat and tie?  Have to be able to


Sunday, September 16, 2012


Editors note... published on the web at 2pm on 9/16
Well, it’s been a busy end of the week here.  Thursday and Friday nights we attended a couple of lectures.  Thursday’s edition was the one about the initiation of transoceanic travel by steamship.  It was given (as reported earlier) by the author of “Steam Coffin” which recounts the development of the ship “Savannah” and its voyage across to England.  When we went into the auditorium at the Calvert Marine Museum, there was a continual slide show going with “reviews” of his book, mostly by rather obscure publications like Southern Historian: A Journal of Southern History.  The talk itself was obviously canned for consumption at similar “book signing” events.  He was a pretty accomplished speaker, quite animated.  During his main talk, he left out some key points, like “did they make it?” but it came out in questioning.  I think his main aim was to sell his book, for which I guess I don’t really blame him.  After the lecture we drove a little north to Ruddy Duck and picked up a couple of pizzas.  “Mucho Meat” for me, and plain pepperoni for MFO.  They are still the best pizzas I have found around here.  Excellent ingredients and the wood fire oven puts a little smoke into the equation.  We returned home, and finished half of them while watching my fantasy first pick QB Aaron Rodgers put up minimal points.   Thanks Aaron.

Then Friday morning we pried ourselves out of bed to attend the annual breakfast that kicks off the United Way Campaign.  Was held at a local “social hall”, and was a buffet deal.  Nothing special on the food.  After a short rest, I had a wonderful lunch with a friend at Café Des Artistes in Leonardtown.  I really enjoy lunch there.  They let you linger, and linger we did.  The food is always good, although I think maybe they might consider losing the panko coating on the next edition of their lamb chop lollipops.

Undaunted, that evening we journeyed south to the Visitor Center at Historic St. Mary’s City to listen to Prof. Julia King talk about the interaction of the colonists and the native Americans whose territory the English chose to settle.  She illustrated her talk with pictures of sites that were “dug” and what they found.  I always like her lectures, they are to the point, don’t wander, have great information, and move right along.  Another nice evening, concluding with the last half of the pizzas.

Yesterday (Saturday) saw a stint at the chapel, and then we joined some friends for dinner on the Solomon’s.  We returned home and suffered through Michigan State’s drubbing by the Notre Dame.  I can’t believe the Irish are that good, and (I hope that) MSU isn’t as bad as they looked.  I suppose the South Benders are already making plans for the BCS championship game.  And I suppose this sounds like sour grapes, but Coach Kelly aggravates the heck out of me.  He went on with the usual post game interview with self serving platitudes about “we’ve got a long way to go”; “trying to get better”; “just doing our jobs” and other self deprecating remarks.  Poor me.  No smiles.  Sorry domer, you win this year!

Whew, how did I get off on that?

Well, as long as I seem to be venting a bit, here’s another.  MFO brought home a clip from an on-line news story that lists where the next set of cameras to be installed on the roads around here.  Naturally they rise out of the weeds again, citing “invasion of privacy” concerns, and other big brother conspiracy plots.  I got nothing to hide, do they? By God, I ought to be able to speed, run red lights, stop signs if I wish!!!  With those damn cameras I might get caught breaking the law.   Obey the laws, no worries.

And lastly, in a little lighter vein, friends with whom we shared a table with for the United Way event, alerted me to one of his pet peeves, which upon reflection, I share.  He likes butter on his rolls, and cream in his coffee. At the end of his meal, he had a little pile of plastic containers the size of a softball.   Butter came in those little (impossible to open) tubs, the contents of which are barely enough for one bite, necessitating the use of many leading to the scrap piles.  And, oh, you want cream? How about opening a dozen little containers to get enough for a cup.  I don’t know the BOH regulations, but other restaurants supply a little crock of butter and an actual pitcher for the cream, so it must not be required to have tubs of this and that.  Maybe a portion control issue?  I don’t know.  And how do you like your butter wrapped in foil?  Either so cold you can’t spread it or so soft your fingers come away glistening. 

And today we’re serenaded by the throaty roar of big engines installed in boats, as the “offshore racing” crowd is using our back yard for races.


And we have lots of friends.


And nothing tonight so we don’t have to worry about


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

let's build a smarter....

Good old reliable technology.. 
you know when it comes to computers I am sort of a luddite.  I don’t care if I have to hop up and down on my left leg, tug my right ear twice, then pat my (considerable) stomach three times, AND every (repeat, every) time I do that, the computer does what I want it to do, I am fine with that.  Just be consistent for God’s sake.  If this, then that. All the time. So anyway, this morning after doing my daily scan of Facebook whizzing past all the kitties and doggies, photos of somebody “tagged” at a party looking half in the bag, the vitriolic political ads from left and right, to find the few meaningful things (say from restaurant pages), I decided to shut the laptop down.  Down in the little window to pick what you want to do was that little yellow triangle with an exclamation point in it.  Click.  Immediately get the typical “Windows is installing update 1 of 23,454,872, do not shut down… etc.”  screen. Okay fine.  So I walk away.  After a while I notice that it had indeed shut down.

Meantime I went up to the loft to do some stuff on the desktop, where I had to go through the same drill.  Eventually it comes to life, and I click on IE9 to look at some sports stuff, and I get the little blue revolving circle and “website cannot be found”.  Google?  You kidding me?  I then notice the little four bar icon in the system tray has another yellow triangle on it.  Hover over it and it tells me no internet connection is available!  BS! I am sitting right here looking at my modem and router and they’re both blinking happily.  Crap.  Re-boot. Crap.  One more time!  Crap!  So I finally get in touch with my IT “go to” person who calms me down when I think the world is ending.  What followed was a harrowing (for me) session of “unplug the modem”  yikes!  "Now unplug the router".  Sweat pouring off my forehead.  "Plug back in the modem and wait for all four lights to go steady green”.  An eternity later they do, except for the one on the right which should be blinking..  Okay plug in the router.  I do, the now modem seems happy with blinking light five, and the router begins to flash meaningless icons.  Try it now!  “website cannot be found”.  Crap.  Hmm…. Unplug, plug, no change.  Let’s try shutting down the computer first.  We did, then plug in, plug  in, and bingo I am cruising on the WWW!.   What the heck?  Fifth time is the charm!  Magic..  might as well hop on my left leg.

Okay, and while I’m at it, here’s another one:

Lately when I fire up said laptop I get a little window popping up informing me there is an update to Java available and do I want to install it.  First time, I said, what the hell, sure..  well half way into the process, it looked like I was not only downloading the Java stuff, I was getting Google Chrome for free!!  I don’t want it!!! Stop!  Now it's a daily routine..

 I tell you..  Computers: you can’t live with them and you can’t live without them..I think somebody said something like that about something..
To market, to market...

Lastly, I hate to just relate what you can read for yourself in the newspapers, but not everybody reads them.   Alert readers (of the newspaper) might know that McKay’s old food store on Hollywood Leonardtown road was trying to get a license to have a little wine bistro in the store.  Back and forth with the liquor board, but finally after discovering one of the board members has exactly the same thing, they relented.  Now if you go by there, there are more trades vans than you can shake a wine glass at (Electric, HVAC, Plumbers, Framers, Dry Wallers, etc.).  Anyway, that’s not the news, the news is that McKay's will be pulling out of the store they have in Wildewood, near DB McMillans (an independently owned restaurant).  Some entanglement about leases.  Those McKays seem to have trouble with their places..  Woodburns, and now this.  Speaking of which, somebody said that the renovated place on Hollywood Leonardtown will be more like the original Woodburns.  Only an observation, but a different demographic on this side than Solomons was.

Next post will reveal the flutters plans for going to Ireland (and more).


And speaking of posts (said the clever blogger) I found out something interesting yesterday.  When I create the brilliantly crafted blog and hit the “publish” button, it immediately appears on the internet.  BUT, apparently if you get it delivered by email, it may take overnight.  Somebody said today that “hey that lecture you said was tonight was last night!”  their email popped in a day late.  Right under the title of the piece it tells you when it was posted.  So beware if you use it for scheduling..
But you can always schedule being

Monday, September 10, 2012

They just keep coming....

Oh boy, we’re getting another!  Hard on the heels of the opening of the Cracker Barrel (still parked full every morning), we’re now seeing the final installment of "restaurant row", as the last (?)occupant is rising out of the ground.


It will be another option for red meat, associated with Texas, The LongHorn Steakhouse.  It is a little north on Route 235 than it’s brother the Texas Roadhouse (access and parking may be interesting).  They have a “passion for grilling” and tell you all their meats are fresh, never frozen.  According to them, their (never frozen) steaks are legendary, in their own minds, at least.  One little twist I noticed is that they offer a degree of doneness called “medium well” which is described as having “some pink in center”.

So, just as soon as the “coming soon” signs at CB were replaced with “now hiring”, we’ll have yet another cycle.  Wonder where all these feet on the floor come from.  Hi I’m…. I’ll be taking care of you tonight and I’m glad to have a job…what can I get you guys?”  Arggghhhhh…

So lemme think, between Rolling Road/Shady Mile and Route Four, we have (as you go north) on your left a Panera, a Chick-fil-a, Bob Evans, Ruby Tuesday, and depending on how you classify it, a starbucks (and we crossed Quizno's off the list).  On your right, Cracker Barrel, Red Robin, Olive Garden, Texas Roadhouse and the burgeoning LongHorn.   That’s uh, ten places to put your money that leaves the county.  I’m sure they will do good business.  The precedent is there.  I won’t bore you with another tirade about chain vs. independent; it’s your money and your choice.  If you want to go get food from a chain, fine (I’ve already had a note about the wonderful pecan pancakes at CB).  But maybe just once in a while seek out an independent and give them a shot.. you might be surprised.

Did you do something fun over the weekend?  I had a good day Saturday at the Chapel, met several interesting people, and yesterday we attended the lecture at Sotterley.  It was a very interesting speech about the war of 1812 and Sotterley Plantation.  Kind of featured stories of slaves that escaped and went over to the British.

Tonight down to St. Francis Xavier to hear Silas Hurry (7pm).  Not sure if we’ll have time to


Friday, September 7, 2012

Sometimes you feel like a blog....


And sometimes you don’t…  so maybe just some random items for your Friday’s and future planning consideration..

To do:
There are several interesting lectures coming up that history minded folk might want to see, or listen to.

This Sunday (the 9th), Dr. Edward Papenfuse, Maryland State Archivist, will be speaking at the Barns at Sotterley as part of the Boeing Lecture series.  His topic will be “The War of 1812 at Sotterley and Southern Maryland”.  He is a very approachable and engaging speaker, and it would be worth your time to attend.  Starts at 3pm, and there is no cost. MFO and I will be there. (yes, Redskins fans, this might cut short your viewing of the game, but I fear by then they will be buried by the Saints and you probably are better off leaving)

Then on Monday (the 10th) Silas Hurry (Curator of collections at Historic St. Mary’s City) is going to present “Saints Cast in Brass and Molded in Clay, Roman Catholic Religious Artifacts from Historic St. Mary’s City”.  Not sure if he is bringing any samples with him.  He always makes a good speech and has a great sense of humor.  The talk will be at St. Francis Xavier’s Church Hall, starting at 7pm.  (yes, sports fans, it DOES conflict with Monday Night Football – get over it).  Don’t believe there is any fee, and this lecture is the first of four in the church’s 350th anniversary series.

A little further on, Dr. Julia King (Professor of Anthropology and Museum Studies chair of St. Mary’s College) will be speaking on “A Place Now Known Unto Them:” The Archaeology of Anglo-Native Relations, 1634-1711, which will explore the complex relationship of native Americans and the early colonists of Maryland.  She has done extensive archeology work in Calvert county at important sites.  The talk will be on September 14th (yes party fans, this IS a Friday night, get over it).   Starts at 7p.m. in the Visitor Center at Historic St. Mary’s City, and is free to the public, and you.

And just one more, on the evening before Dr. King’s lecture, the 13th, a Thursday, John Laurence Busch will present his book “Steam Coffin” in the Calvert Marine Museum’s auditorium at 7:00 p.m. Busch presents the steamship as a watershed invention transforming the way humans perceived the world.  Sounds very interesting.  This also is free, but I can only imagine that his book will be available for purchase..

And if you’re looking for something to do other than sit in a chair and learn neat stuff, tomorrow (Saturday the 8th) is Historic St. Mary’s City's annual Woodland Indian Discovery Day at the city.  Lots to do for young and old (well, maybe mature): you can learn to shoot a bow and arrow, throw an atlatl, step a traditional dance, and make a rattle to keep the beat.  Experiment with making tools from rocks and learn which familiar plants were used for food, tools, and building material.  I think there will be dancing by the Yaocomaco Native American troupe.  For all this you do need to buy a ticket ($10/$6) which will help support programs at the City.  And, if you wander out to the 1667 Chapel, you just might see the bottom feeder..

Lastly, don’t forget tonight is First Friday in Leonardtown with the usual stuff to do.

I don’t like to harp on this (but I will anyway), look at the wonderful opportunities to learn and do stuff here in our little end of Southern Maryland.  Don’t let anybody tell you there’s nothing to do here.  It’s right in front of you!!

Literary note:

I am currently reading a fascinating book called “the Table Comes First” by Adam Gopnik.  It’s hard to characterize, but it sort of talks about the historical interaction of food to humans, the philosophy of appetite on the soul, and other deep stuff.  He is quite opinionated  There have been a couple of quotes that I sort of like, for instance when he talks about a modern French meal, he says that a dinner without wine and concluding coffee is “….impossible to imagine.  Dinner with water is dinner for Prisoners.”  He is fond of quoting Brillat-Savarin and Grimod from the 18th century who were kind of the fathers of modern food writing in post Revolution France. Grimod says “the three things to avoid at the table are: “a little wine which I bought from the grocer”; a dinner ‘just among a few friends’; and ‘amateur musicians’.  Sounds like I guy I would like.  Anyway, it is interesting (if not always easy) reading.

Food notes:

I have noticed on my almost daily trip to Starbucks that the parking lot of the new paragon of “Suthin’ hospitality” the Cracker Barrel is full most every morning..  Build them and they will come. Sigh

On a higher plane, although the Feeder has yet to visit, I am hearing very good things about the new little place to eat in the Blue Heron Inn on the Solomons.  It’s behind the Lotus Café (ditto good things) I think.  Limited hours.

And back on a lower plane, one of my little news feeds had a story about restaurants cracking down on employees drinking on or after the job.   In my experience the staff enjoys a glass of wine or something at the conclusion of service.  Almost a tradition.  Anyway, as a result of a successful million dollar lawsuit against among others, the sommelier of Husk, a nationally recognized restaurant in Charleston, more and more restaurateurs are now forbidding employees from drinking on the premises.  Ever.  Some restaurants have implemented a policy that employees can’t even go into the bar unless they’re on shift.  Applies 24/7.  Tough times.. Although come to think about it, I couldn't drink on my job either.  Boeing somehow frowned on that..

Monday, September 3, 2012

Air Fare....

A contrast in airborne meals..

Alert readers will remember that our outbound leg for the Scotland trip was marred by some of the worst food (like material) that I have experienced in a long time (I won’t mention the airline was USAir).  So when the business trip to the other coast loomed, I decided (as I have mentioned) that I would expend some of my accrued airline miles with American and see if I could upgrade to the front of the plane.  And for a dear price of 15K each way plus a “fee” I could do that.  What the hell.  Okay.

My trip began with MFO ferrying me to DCA in MOMSTER II for a fashionable 1700 departure time.  Amazingly, traffic was sparse, maybe because it was Monday, and we made good time, breezed through checkin and security and found myself in the Admiral’s Club (another indulgence I’ve had for years).  Once again filled with people with devices glued to their ears or thumbs, but at this point I wasn’t quite as sensitive, but I suppose it was the start of the process that led up to the finale with the Cell Phone Lady already reported on.

Soon enough we were ushered on board and I settled into a window seat in the first class cabin.  Much more room, a working headphone with a classical music channel available.  However while the plane continued loading the other customers, I felt a drop on my head, and discovered that condensation was dripping from the overhead.  I pointed it out to the cabin crew and was given a napkin to stuff in the vent which stopped the flow until takeoff. The person in the aisle seat next to me remarked “I’ll have to add reason 17 why you never sit in a window seat”.  I didn’t ask about the others.  Anyway, after boarding and people were still getting settled in, we were offered sparkling wine (guess you can’t call it champagne” before takeoff.  Ah, this is getting better.  Soon after takeoff the attendants again appeared with the hot towel, a civilized practice which I thought had disappeared with the sag in the economy.  They also handed us an actual printed menu!


With dinner selections and beverages


After reaching some altitude they came around and asked what we would like to drink, and our menu choices, addressing each of us by name.  I selected the Glenlivet, on the rocks please (no DMOTRWAT here).  Soon enough a little dish of warmed mixed nuts and the drink appeared (in the glass, no little bottles to mess with)


One might note that it is actual glass and actual china.  No plastic to be seen.  At that point the drink and little snack were welcomed as was the “would you care for another Mr. Moody?”

Suitably relaxed the salad “course” was set before us


It actually was quite tasty, and prosciutto wrapped melon is always a winner even at thirty some thousand feet.  This was followed by the filet, which was not exactly restaurant quality but not too bad (I think the mashed potatoes were added to weigh down the plate in case of turbulence)


So eating with real cutlery, sipping wine from an actual glass, classical music plugged in the ear, and a passing airshow was quite relaxing.. nice scenery


Finally the cheese plate concluded the food service


Given my previous experience with airline food this was a real treat.  No, it’s not starred meals, but it sure beat what we had before.  It’s very seductive sitting up front, I suppose it won’t continue, I’ll run out of miles and certainly can’t afford it out of pocket, but it makes the journey much more enjoyable..

The return flight (through DFW) you’ve kind of heard about with the antics of the CPL, but the food was equally as palatable, a nice little salad before DFW.


The last night in LA, due to the late hour (a long day making conclusion slides) we grabbed a sandwich at a little beer pub in Redondo Beach.

(those are beer tap handles on the ceiling)

Not surprisingly, the food was not commendable, but the beer selection was wide, and cold.

We passed a little place that a quick search on Yelp recommended but we didn’t have time, maybe next time


So after a leisurely morning, I winged home again to the humidity of Maryland..

And of course the journey is not the objective, but it makes the objective much more easy to concentrate on.. and I remember the day when faced with air travel I would specifically put on a coat and tie.  Them days is gone forever, making it hard on an airplane to be

Local foodnote;  On my way to SBucks this morning for coffee I noticed that the Cracker Barrel parking lot was FULL, with flow over into the Red Robin next door (which is not open at nine in the am), so I assume that the stuffed animals and candles are accepting customers.  Praise be to God!!